UPDATE: Police in North Carolina have confirmed the human remains they found are those of missing 10-year-old Zahra Baker. The case will now be handled as a homicide investigation.
An emotional chief Tom Adkins, struggling to maintain his composure, said during the press conference, “We have recovered enough physical evidence to believe we have found Zahra.”
According to ABC News, Elisa Baker’s attorney Scott Riley said today his client claims she had nothing to do with Zahra’s disappearance.
“I spoke to her at 3 a.m. this morning. I went to see her at 7 a.m. this morning. She still hadn’t had any sleep. She’s very emotional, very upset.”
Anyone following the case of 10-year-old Zahra Baker has been touched in one way or another by it. From her mother who wishes she had her daughter in her arms to neighbors, friends, and relatives who may feel guilty and wish they had spoken up when they witnessed abuse, to the public-at-large who feel angry that anyone would take this little girl and do the unspeakable.
Search for Zahra Baker Called Off:
Authorities in Caldwell County, N. Carolina have called off the search for Zahra Baker after finding “significant evidence” in an area near Gunpowder Creek and Dudley Shoals Road that has been reported to be human remains. The Gaston Gazette reports the remains have been sent to the State Bureau of Investigations lab.
According to ABC News, a spokesman for the Hickory Police Department declined to confirm whether human remains were found but said, “The only thing I can share is that yesterday we recovered evidence that could provide valuable information in the Baker case.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Hickory Police Department said in a statement that reads in part, “We understand the concern and interest in this case by the public but we must be cautious tin prematurely releasing information so it will not jeopardize any future criminal proceedings.”
Adam Baker, Zahra’s father, was questioned by Hickory police was questioned with his lawyer present for more than an hour Wednesday. No further details are available.
Zahra’s Mother Travels to N. Carolina from Australia:
Zahra’s mother Emily Dietrich, who lives in Australia, visited a makeshift memorial for her daughter outside the Baker home. An Australia news crew accompanied her. They arrived mere hours after the discovery. While at the memorial, neighbors said an emotional Dietrich read cards, looked over toys, flowers, and other items left for her daughter.
Also visiting the memorial was Flossie Wilcox who said, “I just hate to see something like that happen to a 10-year-old. And, you know, I’d just like to see some closure on it.”
Last month, Zahra’s prosthetic leg was found in a location near the home her stepmother, Elisa Baker, once lived in. Last week, a bone was discovered and was sent for testing.
Elisa Baker was purportedly abusive to her stepdaughter and called her “The Dark Child”. Following Zahra’s disappearance, friends, family and neighbors came forward with allegations of child abuse. Many may see this as too little too late.
North Carolina is one of the rare states that does not have any penalties for failure to report child abuse. However, this is no excuse not to do the right thing. Every one of us has a responsibility to report child abuse.
Signs of Child Abuse Include:
– Frequent injuries (black eyes, cuts, bruises, burns)
– Bruises and burns that are in an unusual pattern (this may indicate the use of some kind of instrument, human bite, cigarette burn).
– If the child frequently complains of pain but there are no outward signs of injury.
– Behavioral problems (aggression, destructive, disruptive)
– Withdrawn, passive, and/or emotionless
– Fear of going home or seeing parents
– Injuries that appear after the child hasn’t been seen for a few days
– Wearing unseasonable clothing (this is done to hide injuries to arms and legs).
Zahra Baker Update: Human Remains Found; Stepmother Attempts to Shift Blame to Father in Letters – Kenzy England, Associated Content
Former Deputy District Clerk – Family
Zahra Baker Case Becomes Homicide Investigation – ABC News
Zahra Baker Search Uncovers Human Remains – ABC News
Police call off search for Zahra Baker after finding ‘significant evidence’ | zahra, memorial, search – Local News – Gaston Gazette
Zahra Baker: human remains found in bush grave, The Sydney Morning Herald